'Peace begins with each of us,' Pope preaches to Rome's Congolese community (Vatican News) On July 3, Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time in St. Peter’s Basilica for Rome’s Congolese community.
The Mass was scheduled after the announcement of the postponement of his apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
In his homily, the Pope discussed “three missionary surprises that Jesus reserves for the disciples and reserves to every one of us, if we listen to him”: “equipment,” “the message,” and “our style.” He concluded, “May the Lord help us to be missionaries today, going in the company of our brother and our sister, with peace and God’s closeness on our lips; bearing in our heart the gentleness and goodness of Jesus, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.”
Pope hopes for renewal of secret China accord (Reuters) Pope Francis says that a secret diplomatic agreement with China, governing the appointment of new bishops, is working well, and he hopes it will be renewed in October.
In an interview with Reuters, the Pope conceded that the appointment of new Chinese bishops is “going slowly.” He suggested this was “the Chinese way,” adding “no one can rush them.”
Since the reached the accord with Beijing in 2018, allowing the Chinese regime to select episcopal candidates for the Pope’s approval, only six new Catholic bishops have been installed; about 40 more appointments are still overdue.
Defending the agreement—which has been criticized for allowing the Chinese government to select Church leaders—Pope Francis said that the Vatican was practicing the “martyrdom of patience.” He likened the situation to the Cold War diplomacy undertaken by Cardinal Agostino Casaroli when he was Vatican Secretary of State, which was also criticized for refusing to confront Communist regimes.
Pope scoffs at rumors of resignation, cancer (Reuters) Pope Francis scoffed at reports that he might soon resign, said that he may yet travel to Ukraine and Moscow, and commented on the US Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, in his latest published interview.
In a conversation with Philip Pullella, the veteran Vatican correspondent for Reuters, the Pope said that he is not contemplating resignation, and the prospect “never entered my mind” when he scheduled a visit to the city of L’Aquila, and the tomb of Pope Celestine V, who resigned in 1294. He allowed that he could resign in the future, if he finds himself unable to fulfill his role, but indicated that was not likely soon. “God will say,” he concluded.
Pope Francis also laughed off a rumor that surgeon discovered cancer during his abdominal surgery last year, saying that doctors “didn’t tell me anything about it.”
Questioned about the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case, the Pope said that he was not acquainted with the legal arguments, but reiterated his condemnation of abortion, saying that it is tantamount to “hiring a hit man.” However he refused to support American prelates who have said that pro-abortion politicians should be barred from Communion. He said that “when a bishop loses his pastoral nature, it causes a political problem.”
In perhaps his most surprising comment, Pope Francis said that he still hopes to visit Ukraine, but may visit Russia first, in a bid to advance the cause of peace. He suggested that he might make the trip after his scheduled visit to Canada later this month.
Finally the Pope disclosed that he had suffered a “small fracture” in his knee recently, complicating problems caused by an inflamed ligament. He said that the painful condition is gradually improving.
Pope calls for de-escalation of war in Ukraine (Vatican News) “Let us continue to pray for peace in Ukraine and in the entire world,” Pope Francis said on July 3. “I appeal to the heads of nations and international organizations to react to the tendency to accentuate conflict and confrontation.”
“The world needs peace,” the Pope continued. “Not a peace based on the balance of weapons, on mutual fear. No, that will not do. This means turning history back 70 years.”
“The Ukrainian crisis should have been, but – if there is the will – can still become a challenge for wise statesmen, capable of building, with dialogue, a better world for the new generations,” the Pope added. “With God’s help, this is always possible! But it is necessary to pass from the strategies of political, economic and military power to a plan for global peace: no to a world divided between conflicting powers; yes to a world united between peoples and civilizations that respect each other.”
Two more Nigerian priests kidnapped (Fides) Two more Catholic priests were kidnapped in Nigeria over the weekend, although one was quickly freed by a police raid.
Father Luigi Brena was seized by armed men in the southern Edo state on July 3. Police tracked the kidnappers to a forest camp, and freed the priest after a gun battle. Police in Edo are still searching for the kidnappers who abducted to other priests last week.
Meanwhile in the northeastern Kaduna state, Father Emmanuel Silas as kidnapped on July 4.
'We proclaim Jesus through witness of brotherly love,' Pope tells pilgrims (Vatican News) In his July 3 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading of the day (Luke 10:1-12, 17-20).
“The evangelizing mission is not based on personal activism, that is, on ‘doing,’ but on the witness of brotherly love, even amid the difficulties that living together entails,” the Pope said. “May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, teach us how to prepare the way for the Lord with the witness of fraternity.”
Ukraine renews its invitation for Pope Francis to visit (Reuters) “We renew the invitation to Pope Francis to visit our country and urge you to continue praying for the Ukrainian people,” said Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian foreign ministry, following the publication of an interview in which Pope Francis said he hoped to visit Russia and Ukraine.
Lay brother becomes superior general of Holy Cross congregation (Pillar) Brother Paul Bednarcyzk, CSC, has been elected by the Congregation of the Holy Cross to be the superior general of that order, having been vicar general for the past six years.
The election, approved by the Vatican, is the first instance of a lay brother becoming worldwide leader of a religious community: a possibility that was created by Pope Francis in May.
University of Idaho violated Christian students' free-speech rights, federal court rules (Religion Clause) The University of Idaho’s Office of Civil Rights and Investigations disciplined three Christian law school students after they discussed the biblical view of human sexuality with a lesbian classmate.
Siding with the Christian students, a federal district found a “clear distinction between the right to attempt to persuade others to change their views and offensive speech that is so intrusive that the unwilling audience cannot avoid it. The right to free speech cannot be curtailed simply because the speaker’s message may be offensive to his audience.”
Vatican confirms discipline of African priest who criticized Pope Francis (LifeSite News) The Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy has confirmed the disciplinary action against Father Janvier Gbénou for his harsh public criticism of Pope Francis.
Father Gbénou, a native of Ivory Coast and a priest of Opus Dei, was suspended from ministry and from Opus Dei in March. His appeal to the Vatican was declined, in a decision personally approved by the Pontiff.
Informed of the decision, the outspoken priest—who has had an active internet present under the pen name “Father Jesusmary”—responded in an open letter to the Pope: “I take note of your decision, which I do not approve of because it is unjust.” He said that he could not in conscience refrain from criticizing the Pope “because, since 2016, you yourself have seriously lacked ‘respect and obedience to God and the People of God.”
One million Muslims join in Hajj as Covid restrictions ease (LICAS.news) Saudi Arabia is allowing one million people to participate in the Hajj this year, lifting restrictions that were imposed during the Covid lockdown.
More than 2.5 million pilgrims participated in the Hajj in 2019. This year about 850,000 are expected from outside Saudi Arabia.All Muslims who are able to make the pilgrimage to Mecca are expected to do so at least once in their lives.
Pope Francis: 'Sports are a sign of hope amidst war' (Vatican News) “I am sure that you, like myself, are saddened because the war in Ukraine casts its shadow on this celebration,” Pope Francis told members of the European Swimming League on July 4, a month before the European Aquatics Championships.
“At the same time, I would hope that this will make us all the more committed to showing our desire for a world of peace, a world without wars, without hatred between peoples, without nuclear threats,” he added.
Bishop given new mission to Ukrainian refugees in Ireland (Pillar) Pope Francis has appointed Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of London as apostolic visitator for Ukrainian Catholics in Ireland and in Northern Ireland.
Nearly 40,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland since the war began.
“In the Latin Church, a visitator (or visitor) is an official who performs an often delicate short-term mission on the Pope’s behalf,” the Pillar explained. In the Eastern Catholic churches, “a visitator has a more long-term role in overseeing communities that do not have their own bishop.”
Bishop Nowakowski said that “the big thing —and I emphasize that time and again —is to keep us in prayer, to remember Ukraine, don’t let it slip off the horizon because it’s become, perhaps, old news. It’s very important.”
New papal document defends Vatican II liturgical changes (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis has issued a new apostolic letter, Desiderio desideravi, calling for “the rediscovery of a theological understanding of the liturgy and its importance in the life of the Church.”
In the new document, released on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Pope calls for unity in the Church, saying that this unity in turn requires the acceptance of changes mandated by Vatican II. “Let us abandon our polemics and listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church,” he writes. “Let us safeguard our communion.”
The apostolic letter, consisting of 65 paragraphs and about 11,000 words, calls for “a serious and vital liturgical formation” for all Catholics. The Pope opens with a series of theological reflections on the fundamental importance of the Eucharistic liturgy, then goes on to laud the directives of Vatican II as a means of invigorating the spiritual life of the Church.
[See Phil Lawler’s analysis of the papal document..]